It’s easy to forget that just two decades ago, people had to walk into a telephone booth to make a phone call, queue for hours in a banking hall to pay school fees and bills, write letters that would take days, sometimes weeks to reach the recipient.
Today, e-commerce, education, agriculture, media, communications, health, transport, and banking have undergone immense technological advancements courtesy of smartphone which billions of people around the world use.
20 years ago a group of innovators brought to life an idea that has soared through great lengths over the years.
The launch of Safaricom in October 2000 marked the start of a revolution in the telecommunications sector in Kenya, and even though it started small, Safaricom has expanded and has lived up to its first tagline of being ‘the better option’.
Over the last two decades, Safaricom has grown to become a pacesetter in innovation and technological advancements in Kenya. During its first decade, Safaricom connected people by introducing sim cards which ran on 2G and 3G networks.
They have since gone on to customize their service to give customers the best access to affordable and fast network.
20 years later with numerous products and services launched, Safaricom has grown to be more than just a mobile service provider, using technology to transform people’s lives.
Safaricom was launched in October 2000. This marked the start of a revolution in the telecommunications sector in Kenya.
It began with 17, 000 customers, and by 2003 that number had grown to 1, 000, 000 customers, embarking on a journey of transforming lives through the Safaricom Foundation and M-PESA Foundation.
The Safaricom Foundation has economically empowered people’s lives through community based projects, restored dignity to women and given mothers and newborns an equal chance of survival through specialized health services in medical camps, enabled children to learn even amidst the pandemic and given people access to clean water.
In 2007, M-PESA was introduced. This laid the foundation for e-commerce in the country and changed the future of banking, making tremendous steps in financial inclusion. And thus began partnerships with local lenders and telcos.
A year later, Safaricom offered up a slice of the company to the public and had the largest Initial Public Offering (IPO) in East and Central Africa.
Over the years, it has enhanced data usage, placing affordable internet at the hands of its customers, and enabling them to become part of the digital revolution. It soon followed it up with high speed fibre network right into the homes and offices to offer more opportunities into the internet world.
Safaricom has grown to be the widest network in Kenya with 35.6 million customers and intends to leverage on digital innovation to offer more opportunities to subscribers.
This story is part of the Safaricom@20 celebrations. For 20 years, Safaricom has developed new technologies and innovations to support and enable Kenyans to communicate, connect and to go beyond.